Real Talk w/ DJ Lean Rock (@leanrocker)


How do you think you benefited from being engrossed in the b-boy culture virtually since birth?

I have been blessed to be around some of the most incredible and talented people through out life. I really don’t have to go far to seek knowledge about bboying or hip hop culture, because it is pretty much right there in front of me. Growing up on the East Coast, I’ve been raised around many of the creators and innovators of hip hop culture. Most of the people I’m around share a universal mind state, a student mind state, and cherish hip hop culture as a whole.

How does DJing provide you with the similar thrill you get from b-boying?

To me DJing is the food source for the dancer and being that I come from the culture from birth I have gained a sense of loyalty to my music and the connection to the dancers, the thrill for me is to have that crowd at its best and most pure energy to a point where your looking at the crowd and you feel their soul and your constantly wondering what they want out of you - its a constant rush and when you nail it then thats the feeling that keeps me hooked on! Its a dope feeling to be where i am and I feel blessed to be a DJ.

Do you try to separate the DJ in you from the dancer as far as promoting yourself or do they two aspects and careers simply go hand in hand?

The b-boy in me always will be and the fact that this is a dance form will tell you that my musicality is or should be on point, I have no excuces and i pride myself on making sure i deliver a new and high energy experience to my audience in dance etc. - I also like to dig any chance i get so the crowds are constantly interested in my sound...

Do you think breaks gets the props it deserves as a genre outside of dance culture?

I can totally see why spinning breakbeats or bboy breaks doesn’t get much acknowledgement. Most of the time the public can’t even see what the dj is doing when he is playing breaks. So do I think it gets the props it deserves… it’s hard to say. It’s not really easy to understand because there is an intricate concept behind it. When you’re playing breakbeats or bboy breaks, what really makes it a bboy break or breakbeat is the way YOU PLAY THE RECORD. A lot of times the drum break/bboy groove on these records may only be about 4 bars, 8 bars, etc. The rest of the record may not even be useful for a dj that plays breaks. It’s the dj’s job to extend the break of the record by looping the break (Kool Herc coined this term as the Merry Go Round). If the dj is just playing the records all the way through then well he is just playing records. Most of the records you find drum breaks/bboy grooves on are early funk records (James Brown, Marva Whitney, The JBs, etc.), but there are also breaks on rock records, jazz records, disco records, etc. So if you actually put some time into digging for records you can actually find break in nearly every genre of music. So technically it’s not really a genre of music, but more of style of playing records....


Does anything upset you about the attitude in dance culture today?

There are two things that upset me about the dance culture nowadays. First, I would say is the lack of creativity in the scene. Secondly, I would say the lack of appreciation towards the music. I think people give too many excuses and praise “biting” a little too much these days. There is nothing wrong with getting inspired by another person but we were all born unique individuals. We are all on this earth to live our own separate lives. No one can express YOU better than YOU. That’s what makes us all special in our own way. I mean haven’t you ever heard the saying “You were born original, don’t die a copy”. We should appreciate that and live to be better individuals. Now as far as the music, in order to become a better dancer you need to understand the music you dance to better. A lot of dancers don’t really acknowledge it, and they suffer because of it. Music is inspiration for the soul and the body.

As a DJ, talk about the goals you have made for yourself?

There are too many to name! I’ll just make a quick list…
Become a better dj technically.
Never stop digging.
Branch out to play different crowds/styles/genres of music.
Play in every continent except Antarctica before I’m 25. (I need to go to Africa this year to complete this goal)
Continue to seek inspiration and continue to inspire others.


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